Americans Would Limit Congressional Campaign Fundraising

Americans are much more likely to support limiting the amount of money that U.S. House and Senate candidates can raise and spend for their campaigns. Nearly eight in 10 say they would vote for such a limit, whereas 19% would oppose it.



This proposal is also far less controversial, with close to 80% of nearly every major demographic and political group favoring it.

Bottom Line

Campaign finance reform is an area of public policy seemingly plagued by the law of unintended consequences. Case in point: While the 2002 McCain-Feingold law was supposed to put an end to the influence of big money in politics, eager donors turned to independent expenditures financed through Super PACs as a way to conduct unlimited political advertising. And given the legal protection these received as "free speech" in the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, there is more money than ever flowing into politics.

Over the years, Gallup has consistently found Americans dissatisfied with the way campaigns are financed, but not especially eager for Congress to make addressing it a high priority. Similarly, while Americans have supported a whole host of campaign reform proposals involving enhanced disclosure and caps on what candidates can raise and spend, they have shown more reluctance toward footing the bill through federal financing. That was clearly the case in 2007, when 57% called public financing "unacceptable." There may be less objection today, with fewer than half, 44%, now saying they would vote "no" if given the chance to vote on implementing a public financing system, and public confidence in Congress historically low. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen how hard Americans will press Congress to enact such a major reform.

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